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Council probe into possible shared housing breaches
COUNCIL officials are investigating scores of possible breaches of guidelines intended to tackle the growth of student lets and other shared houses.
City of York Council has revealed it is currently involved in 72 new investigations about houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in the eastern area of the city alone.
It said the increase was partly down to the adoption of an Article 4 direction in April, aimed at managing the supply of new HMOs to avoid high concentrations in an area.
“Currently, nine planning applications have been received as a result of these investigations,” said a report to councillors on the east area planning committee.
The report said some enforcement cases had been brought forward as a result of information supplied by residents and local organisations.
The Article 4 direction was introduced in the wake of growing concerns about a sharp rise in the growth of student lets, particularly in neighbourhoods near the University of York.
But Osbaldwick councillor Mark Warters has said he fears it will simply push the growth from areas where the concentration is already high into other areas, such as his ward.
He said the rise in the number of enforcement cases, some of which involved HMOs being opened without permission while others involved too many residents living in an HMO, indicated the situation was getting out of control.
But a council spokeswoman said that while it was causing an increase in workload, it was not out of control.
Coun Dave Merrett, the council’s Cabinet Member for transport, planning and sustainability, said an increase in HMO cases was to be expected.
“The Article 4 direction was introduced exactly to deal with the uncontrolled expansion of HMOs in response to local resident’s concerns,” he said. “We are working through the resulting rise in cases as rapidly as the increased resources permit.”